From Manurewa to Silicon Valley (and back again)


John and Leonie Hynds established the Hynds Education Fund with Auckland Communities Foundation (ACF) in 2010.  Amongst other things the Fund is used to provide educational scholarships for students of Manurewa High School, of which John and Leonie are alumni.  These scholarships have been set up to run through the First Foundation, as existing experts in tertiary scholarships.  ACF works with the Hynds, the School and First Foundation to facilitate the awarding of the scholarships and the ongoing relationships the Hynds have with the students over four years.  With ACF acting as the lynchpin it means the extremely busy Hynds don’t need to be involved in the day to day management of their granting, making themselves available for the exciting parts, such as the interviewing  of prospective students.

The first scholarship recipient of the Hynds Education Fund was graduating Auckland University student Ryan King, who is set to complete his Bachelor of Business in a few months, and says he wouldn’t have been where he is without his First Foundation scholarship.  The Manurewa resident of Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu and Scottish heritage was the first in his family to attend university and also recently represented South Auckland at an event for young entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

Ryan’s scholarship, provided by the Hynds Education Fund, contributed about 75 per cent of his tuition fees and matched him with a mentor to help guide his final year at Manurewa High School, his transition into university life and the subsequent years of his degree programme.

“I was here kind of alone,” Ryan says of his first year at university. But he overcame that with help from the Tuākana mentoring programme *supported by CAPM (Commerce Association Pacific and Maori) – an organisation Ryan is now president of.  He now facilitates that same Tēina Tuākana  programme, “developing a mentoring programme for the newbies to help them transition into university life,” and teaches Maori and Pasifika students commercial law twice a week.

“It’s my way of giving back to the university,” he says,  “after all the support that I got from my family, friends, the Hynds, my mentors, the university. It’s a lot of work – but its very enjoyable.”

Ryan catches up with his benefactors, Auckland business leaders and Manurewa High School alumni John Hynds ONZM and his wife Leonie, once in a while.  “I’ve met them a few times, they are very nice people, very good role models. They went to Manurewa High. They’ve been in business for 41 years.”

The young achiever was recently handpicked to attend a one-week Stanford University conference for 42 student entrepreneurs from across the Asia Pacific held in Silicon Valley.  Ryan’s First Foundation mentor, Lance Hutchison rallied around Ryan’s support network to raise the funds to enable his attendance.

“It was awesome to connect with young entrepreneurs around the region,” says Ryan. “There were students from Australia, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Seattle, Spain…”

The young entrepreneurs heard from technology idols like Gideon Yu, one time CFO of Facebook and YouTube, and Aditya Agarwal who was behind Facebook as a startup. “It was awesome having people of that calibre coming to talk to us and tell us their stories.”

Ryan recently went back to Manurewa High School to talk to the year nine students. “I want to se an example for other students coming out of Manurewa, show them that they can go to university, go overseas, travel the world.  I told them that I believe in them.”

John and Leonie Hynds are very proud of Ryan’s achievements; “We are thrilled with Ryan and his progress   He was so shy when we interviewed him for the scholarship   He was an excellent choice. Now a role model prepared to set the standard by giving back to his community.  His future is secure with many experience’s and contacts ensured.”

Being the first in family to attend university means a lot to his family, says Ryan.  “Its like I’m doing it for them, representing them. They’re really proud.”


  • Young people aged under 30 years make up half of the population in Manurewa.
  • 60%of Manurewa’s unemployed aged 21 - 30 are maori[1]
  • One third of families in Manurewa live in decile 10 areas (highest deprivation)[2]
  • 34% of residents of Manurewa aged 15 years and over have no formal educational qualification (compared to 20%in the Auckland Region)[3]
  • 39%of residents of Manurewa are unemployed [4]


[1] Manurewa Community Profile, Ministry of Justice, 2005

[2] Demographic Report Card – Manurewa, Auckland Council, 2012.

[3] Demographic Report Card – Manurewa, Auckland Council, 2012.

[4] Manurewa Community Profile, Ministry of Justice, 2005


For more donor case studies, see Inspiring Giving part 1 & part 2.